Privacy Heroes - the best privacy tools for marketers

Updated on 30th June 2020

Not all marketing tools track or trade your personal data for profit. The following is a list of secure and privacy-first tools I’d recommend for your workflow and front-end.

If a marketing service is free, you are often the product.

Most people have been ok with data about them being sold to advertisers instead of paying a subscription fee. Others unaware it’s happening.

But after countless big tech data breach scandals customers are becoming increasingly switched on to their online data and how it’s used. That includes the marketing tools brands use.

In response, there’s a new breed of privacy tools and browser extensions that don’t track customers round the web or trade your personal data for profit. So, here are our top privacy tools for marketers…

Best private advertising networks

First up, ContextCue uses the content of a website to target ads - not ad trackers. As the ads are totally private, they’re also incredibly lightweight, meaning your site is faster to load.

ContextCue Homepage   Surges.co review

Brave browser’s ad offerings follows a similar path. Private yet powerful, Brave uses machine learning to only place attention-grabbing ads when a user’s attention isn’t elsewhere. So instead of interrupting that article they were reading, it’ll wait until the user opens a new tab or completed a task. Users can also accrue credits as they use the browser to tip and support their favourite content creators.

Brave Browser Homepage   Surges.co review

Traditional ad networks will claim they use your information to make its ads more useful for you. However, given 30% of all internet users now use ad blockers, it’s safe to assume they’re not that useful after all.

Best private PPC services

DuckDuckGo is a private search engine that gives you truly private search results without any tradeoff in result relevance.

Debunking the myth that search engines need to track your browsing habits to make money, they show ads based on search terms (via Microsoft Advertising), not the the person searching. So no browsing history is recorded or kept. One of my favourite privacy tools.

Best private analytics and blogging tools

Fathom is a minimalist, privacy-focused alternative to Google Analytics.

Fathom simplifies the task of understanding visitor behaviour while also respecting their privacy. The added bonus for collecting less data, is it’s superfast. So if, like us, you prioritise site speed over mountains of personal data you’ll likely never use, it’s definitely worth paying a small monthly fee for.

Fathom Analytics Homepage   Surges.co review

Similarly so, open source blogging platform Ghost has its own in-built privacy-focussed analytics: Ghostboard. You get all data you need from Google Analytics (e.g. real time data, page stats, countries, referrers, etc), plus lots of blog-orientated intel (e.g. popular content, SEO reports, tags, etc). That means no cookie popups too!

Ghost Blogging platform   privacy

Ghost is a blogging platform that’s beautiful inside and out. A real free spirit, it has everything you need to build an eye-catching website, write and publish content, send newsletters and run a paid membership scheme with your head held high.

Sticking with the blogging theme, Write.as is a minimalist, privacy-focussed writing platform that removes any distractions and snooping. You’re in full control of your writing environment and your web presence. Private data can stay just that.

Best private collaboration and video conferencing tools

The coronavirus pandemic was the making of Zoom. However, it also exposed some pretty major privacy and security flaws.

Private-by-design alternatives include Apple’s FaceTime, Microsoft’s Teams and Jami. Everything said and shared on all three are peer-to-peer and end-to-end encrypted. FaceTime’s major drawback though is that all participants need to be on Apple devices.

You can also run your entire operations on ONLYOFFICE. This collection of secure office and productivity apps is made for collaboration among teams. End-to-end encryption comes as standard and ONLYOFFICE offers added protection of confidential files with Private Rooms. Somewhere to store, edit, and share documents in always-encrypted form.

There’s far more out there than secure messaging apps and web browsers. It’s not exactly feasible to incorporate tor network into your workflow.

Best transparent data collection tools

It’s impossible to market your business without some form of data collection.

Metomic allows you to still use all your favourite marketing tools, but puts the user in control of what your website can and can’t store via a contextual cookie placeholder. It only shows as a user clicks on the relevant tool. Metomic can also find and fix data privacy issues on your website and automatically update your policy policy as your third-party tools change the way your customer’s data is collected and used.

Metomic Homepage   Surges.co Homepage

This easy-to-use, free service is a big vote for transparency at a time when customers are more aware and protective of their data than ever before. Give your users the control they crave!

In summary - rising to the challenge

With big tech’s business model facing heightened scrutiny, we think there’s a huge opportunity for brands to embrace internet privacy tools and do what’s best for their customers. Even Google themselves are planning to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome by 2022. RIP cookie.

Of course, this makes our job as marketers much harder. It can be very difficult to improve the user experience when you don’t know who your customers are and reconsider using your favourite marketing tools. But it forces us to at least consider alternatives and reassess the data we collect and whether it’s really needed. If not, can we really claim we’re being user friendly?

And if you don’t, customers will beat you to it and vote with their wallets and with ad blockers.

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